Lampard denied first win as Leicester draw at Chelsea

Chelsea's French striker Olivier Giroud, second left, saves a shot from Leicester City's Spanish striker Ayoze Perez,left. (AFP)
Updated 19 August 2019
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Lampard denied first win as Leicester draw at Chelsea

  • Sheffield United make winning return to Premier League at Bramall Lane

LONDON: Frank Lampard is still waiting for his first win as Chelsea manager after Wilfred Ndidi gave Leicester a 1-1 draw to spoil the Blues legend's homecoming on Sunday.

Thrashed 4-0 at Manchester United last weekend and beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the European Super Cup on Wednesday, Lampard's side took an early lead through Mason Mount's first goal for Chelsea.

But Ndidi atoned for the costly mistake that led to Mount's opener as the Nigerian midfielder headed Leicester's well-deserved second half equalizer.

Lampard had been given a thunderous reception in his first game as Chelsea manager at Stamford Bridge.

Yet the mood was far gloomier by the final whistle after a spluttering display raised the spectre of a potentially difficult season for the returning hero.

Sheffield United made a winning return to the Premier League at Bramall Lane as John Lundstram scored the only goal for a deserved 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. 

Lundstram, who has spent the majority of his career on loan spells in England's lower leagues, blasted into an unguarded net after Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita could only parry a low cross into the box two minutes into the second-half.

Despite the slender margin of victory, Chris Wilder's men were well worthy of the three points as they built on a promising 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on the opening weekend of the season.

Lampard, Chelsea's all-time record goalscorer, managed to avoid being the first Blues boss to lose his first two Premier League games in charge since Gianluca Vialli 21 years ago.

But on this evidence there is a lot of work for the 41-year-old to do if he is to emulate his 13-year playing spell at Chelsea, which included three Premier League titles and the club's first Champions League crown.

Greeted by a huge flag with the message "Frank Lampard's blue and white army" and another reading "Welcome home Super Frank,"  the former England midfielder emerged from the tunnel to cheers and turned to applaud the crowd as they chanted "Super Frankie Lampard." 

With his former Chelsea teammate John Terry in the stands to support his old friend, the Blues nearly gave Lampard a dream start in the first minute when Olivier Giroud chested Cesar Azpilicueta's pass to Pedro and the Spaniard volleyed into the side-netting.

Moments later, Mount threatened when he burst through, but the youngster shot too close to Kasper Schmeichel, who did well to block Christian Pulisic's attempt from the rebound.

Mount, a tenacious attacking midfielder in Lampard's mold, did not need to rue that miss for long.

The 20-year-old, who impressed while playing for Lampard on loan at second tier Derby last season, opened his Chelsea account in the seventh minute, with a helping hand from Ndidi.

When Caglar Soyuncu rolled a pass to Ndidi, he dithered on the ball too long and Mount alertly pressured him into conceding possession before sliding a clinical finish past Schmeichel.

It was just reward for a blistering start from Chelsea and Lampard celebrated by punching the air in delight.

Mount should have doubled Chelsea's lead when he headed straight at Schmeichel from Pedro's cross before N'Golo Kante shot wide from Giroud's flick.

But Chelsea could not keep up that ferocious pace and their dip gave Leicester a lifeline they should have taken when James Maddison miscued his pass after dancing around Blues keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga early in the second half.


Iran assures FIFA that women can attend football qualifier

Updated 22 September 2019
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Iran assures FIFA that women can attend football qualifier

  • FIFA traveled to Iran ahead of the weekend for talks on the matter of women and football
  • The Islamic republic has barred female spectators from football and other stadiums since 1981

MILAN: FIFA has been “assured” that Iran will lift its 40-year ban and allow women to attend a World Cup qualifying game next month.

Football’s governing body wants Iran to end its ban on women entering stadiums that breaches international football statutes prohibiting discrimination.

Global attention on the ban followed the death this month of a 29-year-old activist, Sahar Khodayari, who set herself on fire outside a courthouse. She had been detained for dressing as a man to enter a football stadium in Tehran and faced six months in prison.

“There is women’s football in Iran but we need Iranian women as well to be able to attend the men’s game,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a speech at a conference on women’s football on Sunday. “And we need to push for that with respect but in a strong and forceful way. We cannot wait anymore.

“We have been assured, that as of the next international game of Iran, women will be allowed to enter football stadiums. This is something very important, it is 40 years that this has not happened, with a couple of exceptions, but it is important to move to the next level and to the next stage.”

FIFA sent an inspection team to Iran this week to meet government and football officials ahead of Iran’s match against Cambodia at the 78,000-capacity Azadi Stadium on Oct. 10 — its first home match of the 2022 qualifying competition.

Infantino’s comments drew praise from United States outgoing coach Jill Ellis, who was at the same FIFA conference in Milan, two months after leading the American women’s team to a second successive World Cup title.

“I think it’s huge,” Ellis said. “FIFA has enough of a pull and ability to influence change and I think it’s absolutely the right thing. I mean I don’t think there should be any discrimination period and to not allow women to go see football I think is, I just can’t even wrap my brain around it in terms of it being something. I think if FIFA can influence that, I think it’s great.”